Thoughts from me - a preacher's wife, farmer's daughter, mom, and nurse. Posts are mainly intended to help me journal the events of my life - topics will include kids, church, work, marriage, life in general,
and of course my dogs . . . and whatever else I feel compelled to write about.
Squinting in the sun - but at least the sun was shining!
I can't believe they were filming a documentary
about our trip to Niagara Falls!
American Falls and Bridal Falls in the background.
It has been spring break week here and Brian and I blew through New England like a nor'easter! We left Sunday morning after church for our 18 hour trek to take Joel to see Amanda in New Hampshire!
Considering neither Brian or I had ever been any farther east than Columbus, Ohio, we were excited to see some new parts of the country. Thankfully the weather was good and we made good time.
We got to New Hampshire around 5:30 pm on Monday and had a great evening with Amanda's family. Tuesday morning we were able to visit with Amanda's grandparents, Richard and Diane (missionaries with Open Air Campaigners), who are responsible for getting this whole "Joel and Amanda" thing going in the first place!
Brian and I were were back on the road by noon on Tuesday and made it to our destination of Niagara Falls by 10:00 pm that night. We stayed at a hotel within walking distance to the falls and had a great time there on Wednesday morning.
We were back in the car by noon and amazingly enough were home by 9:00 pm Wednesday night! Wow! That was a lot of driving . . . but we were able to add the states of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire to the list of states to which we have been!
I thought about writing a poem, maybe a haiku, about basketball
. . . something to reflect the emotions and ups and downs of the season. But instead I will just summarize in bullet form and end this post with an ode:
Season started with a lot of pressure. This was THE team . . . the team they had been preening and nurturing since junior high.
Joel was the 5th starter. . . the only junior among the 4 starting seniors.
First big game . . . Joel sprains in ankle in the FIRST quarter. The rest of the season is filled with a lot of tape, ice and ibuprofen.
The first week of December was spent in sunny Florida at the PCC basketball tournament. The boys played well and had some fun on the beach. Brian and I enjoyed the time on the beach too!
Christmas break was spent at a not-nearly-as-fun tournament in Richmond where the team faced the stiffest competition of the season. They got their hat handed to them on occasion but out of the pressure emerged the stronger, more confident player in Joel. Coach said if he were giving out a tournament MVP award it would go to Joel!
January came and so did Megan's wedding. Joel missed a pretty big game which conflicted with the wedding . . . but I don't think he minded that much. He liked his tux and loves his sister!
Joel battled the coaches and proved to them and himself that he was a determined ball player. I am confident that the steps he took to establish himself as a player will benefit him on and off the court for years to come.
January also brought with it the full-blown flu. Although he only missed one game due to it, he practiced for a week and played one game while running a 101 degree fever. I guess it is true that that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
February brought changes to the team and the starting five which consisted of four seniors and Joel changed to three seniors, one sophomore and Joel.
February also brought a lot of snow which meant a week off of school, missed practices and cancelled games.
Later February brought make-up practices and make-up games. On one such make-up game Joel was leading scorer with 20 points and had an awesome highlight reel worthy put back!
Late February, more changes to the starting line-up . . . now two seniors, two sophomores and Joel.
March Madness finally came and with it the state finals. Shock and Awe was their intent . . . the team resolved to play their hardest . . . full-tilt until the end. And shock and awe they did! Joel, unfortunately, fouled out early in the second game but made up for that in the final game with several big blocks, powerful defense, and some needed buckets. Friends and family there cheering him on, TCM history was made!
Ode to Basketball
I know what plays are Spartan, Michigan State and L from all of my basketball watching.
My bottom is flat from all of the bleacher sitting, and
my belly is flabby from all of the McDonald's eating.
My throat is sore from all of the cheering, and
our bank account is empty from all of the spending.
Our tires are worn out from all of the driving, but
my Tuesdays and Fridays will now be empty.
I will now have no excuse not to go to Zumba.
I love Hoosier basketball especially when my boys play;
1. I can stack all of the dishes I own in my dish strainer at the same time. I do it frequently.
2. I used to hide dirty dishes in the oven until they caught fire one day.
3. I have a humiliating public bathroom story that could rival our dear friend R.B.'s - the details of which will go to the grave with me.
4. I am reformed from texting while driving.
5. At any given time there is some form of pet excrement on the floor in my house.
6. I don't ever park in the nurses' parking lot. I park in the closer patient parking lot. Sometimes when it is cold and the nurse with MS walks in from the nurses' lot, I feel bad. (Disclaimer: I am not lazy it is just that I am always running late.)
7. I am addicted to hairspray. There is a can in the bathroom at work. I use it every time I go to the bathroom. The can is not mine.
8. I lie about my weight. Before getting my epidural with Joel, the doctor asked me how much I weighed. I said, "1XX pounds." Brian said, "Are you really willing to risk dying?" I said, "Can I get back with you on that?" The doctor then said, "I will go check her chart."
9. I love the Weather Channel. I find it soothing and comforting.
10. I run bath water when I am worried. I don't take a bath then
I kind of got myself in between a rock and a hard place. No real surprise - it has happened before.
Like the time I was the go-between on a business deal Brian had set up . . . A friend of Brian's at work bought Indy 500 tickets from a friend of ours at church. Or was it the other way around? I don't really remember now. The point is . . .
I was the one to transfer the money: $350 in cold cash.
Trouble is, there was a span of about three days between the day I got the money and the day the money was to be delivered.
You can probably guess what happened . . . straight from an I Love Lucy episode. The day of delivery came and I was a little short on cash - $350 short!
Fortunately, my situation this time does not involve cash . . . well, not directly.
I volunteered to host a table at a fund-raiser. Not just any fund-raiser mind you. The charity hosting the fund-raiser is a big time donor to the oncology center where I work.
Translation: job is on the line.
It shouldn't be that big of a deal, right? How hard could hosting a table be?
I just have to decorate the table . . . eight place settings . . . fine china . . . and silver.
I don't own any china.
My plan when I agreed to host the table (in addition to helping a worthy, charitable cause) was to expand my current jadite collection and decorate the table with that.
My current collection, however, consists of the following:
one jadite restaurant ware D-handle coffee cup;
one 1/4 cup measuring cup; and
one Jane Ray salad plate.
Not a real big collection. Definitely not service for eight.
But because I have a wonderful husband who is used to me getting in tight places, we are now winning the bid on a -
93 PIECE COLLECTION OF JANE RAY DISHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please don't go bid against me - remember my purchase is going toward a charitable cause and will be used for this purpose for many years to come!
There is no question that Megan is a Daddy's girl. . . And there is no question about the fact that Brian is pretty smitten with her as well.
He always has been.
When Megan was a newborn, Brian would walk in the door, hold his arms out and say, "Where's my girl?" It only took a couple times of jumping into his arms to realize that he didn't mean me - he meant Megan.
But that didn't bother me, I would snuggle on the couch beside him and enjoy him holding his girl.
Knowing how special their relationship is, I knew once Brian relinquished to the idea of Megan getting married . . . which did take a while . . . there would be no end to the lengths he would go to in order to give her the wedding of her dreams.
Once a theme was established for the reception and details were drawn up, Brian set to work making the necessary items. His work order: Fourteen 8-foot wooden trees on which to string lights. Surely there would be plenty of time to devote to these trees in between work, church, Joel's basketball games and tournaments, Christmas . . .
But considering Brian rarely works under favorable conditions (i.e. septic lift pump repair in -30 degree weather, major engine work in the CVS parking lot . . .) this didn't deter him one bit. Thanks to a 1000 candle power flood light bulb perched atop the house, the driveway was transformed into a woodworking center the likes of which Santa could have been proud.
Every night after supper Brian would don Levi's FedEx coveralls, flip on his flood light, and head off to the driveway for an evening of wood working. Most often Megan would come in around 11:00 pm after being out with Adam.
Megan: Those look great Dad!
Megan: It's really cold out here.
Brian: Yes, it is.
Megan: Have you been out here long?
Brian: Came out after supper.
Megan: Well, I'd stay and talk but it's really cold.
Brian: Yes it is. Good night, Megan.
Megan: Good night, Dad. Hey, are those Levi's FedEx coveralls?
Megan: They are really short on you.
Brian: Good night, Megan.
This went on the entire month of December and, faithful Dad that he is, the trees were done in time for the wedding. But there was a pay-off.
Brian was now sick.
Oh, I have given him grief over the years about always being sick on big, important days. A claim that does not go unsubstantiated -
March, 1997 - Our move from M-town to the Hills. Brian is on the couch for 3 days straight with a sinus infection and high fever. The boys, aged 3 and 6, single-handedly cleaned out the basement. You think I am kidding? Sadly, I am not. It is quite shocking how much a 3 year old can carry in a push-comes-to-shove situation.
May, 2008 - Megan's graduation party. Brian comes down with a case of Giardia - he blames it on the ice from McDonalds. All I know is half-way through the evening and WAY before the clean-up, his stomach bloats to the size of a beach ball and he starts making noises I still have nightmares about.
Now, the day before what is possibly the biggest day yet in our lives, Brian is sick.
Brian: Do I feel warm?
Elaine: I don't care if you are warm. We need to get the reception set up.
Brian: I am achy all over. And my chest hurts.
Elaine: Really? You had better take a couple Ibuprofen and pray for healing because we have A LOT of work to do.
I guess I was just doing my impersonation of a Halls Cough Drop - you know, a pep talk in every drop. But still, probably not some of my kinder moments.
But it worked. Brian worked non-stop. From early Thursday morning into Thursday evening - stopping only to attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Then he resumed his work on Friday morning.
Lights were hung, tables and chairs were moved, decorations were set . . . There was no stopping him. He was running on pure adrenalin and love for Megan.
Friday evening came and went. His little girl was given away . . . and his adrenalin with her.
We sat exhausted in chairs while friends and family whisked away table cloths, dirty plates and cups, and organized table decorations into neat piles.
Saturday morning we returned to the church with the daunting task of un-transforming the fairytale hall back into a gym. I laughed and called Brian an old man as he walked hunchbacked and slow across the gym - that would definitely come back to bite me later.
Flash forward 10 days and now I am the one with the fever, cough, and body aches. Lying in bed and feeling horrible, I thought of Brian and how miserable he was during the wedding. I thought I had better apologize.
Elaine (texting): I am sorry you felt so bad during the wedding and still had to do all of that work. I don't know how you did it.
As it turned out, the week of the wedding I worked more hours in the clinic than I normally work. Murphy's Law I guess. With all the busyness of last minute preparations and Joel on Christmas break, our vehicle situation was strained to say the least.
Wednesday found me at work vehicle-less, penny-less and lunch-less . . . which, unfortunately, is an all too common occurrence for me. But after hearing Megan had returned from the city and was in town, I quickly requested a double cheeseburger (one of many weaknesses I have) be smuggled into work for me.
When she brought it in, I was with a patient but I could hear her sweet Minnie Mouse voice in the nurse's station. I was glad the other nurses at work got to see her and talk with her before her big day because they think she is the cat's meow!
Later that afternoon when Megan picked me up from work, I noticed a very distinct smell in the Jeep. Assuming that it was left-over McDonald's causing the smell, I asked if she had eaten in the car. She replied that she had. Although this smell wasn't typical for McDonald's, I let the matter go.
When the two of us walked in the house, I noticed that Megan had a nice glow about her. Knowing that she had gone to the tanning bed a couple of times recently, I mentioned that she was really starting to look tan. She smiled politely and thanked me for the compliment.
When she took her coat off and hung it up, I again caught a whiff of the smell I had noticed in the Jeep. No, definitely not McDonalds. This was a pungent, earthy smell.
I walked over and grabbed her coat and put it to my nose . . . I then walked over to her and put her to my nose. "It is you!" I said. "What is wrong with you and why do you smell like compost!"
"I got a spray tan today. Doesn't it look good?" she replied. "Don't worry, Mom, I know you don't like chemicals. I went to a place that's all natural. The spray is made from a mixture of beet juice and walnuts!"
All I could think of was that in less than 48 hours my daughter who had just been sprayed with two of the most stain-producing items on the planet was going to squeeze herself into an ALL WHITE dress, have hundreds of pictures taken of her, and stand before over 200 of our closest friends and family . . .
and she smelled like the bottom of the potato bin!
Why should I worry?!?
I know the wedding is all about the bride and not about the mother-of-the-bride, but at this point in the game my nerves are about shot. We had weathered bridesmaid dresses not fitting, hairstyles not working . . .
"Are you just trying to add stress to our lives, Megan!" was my response. But considering she had already been sprayed, there was not much else to say.
We went about our evening getting ready for church. I noticed, however, that each time we passed in the house, she looked a little different.
She smelled the same, unfortunately, but looked different. She was darker . . . with each passing minute she was getting darker!
After trying to explain that the spray tan consists of a color coat followed by a clear coat that wears off over a few hours revealing the color coat that darkens over time . . . It became clear to me -
We have no idea what color Megan will be for the wedding!
My immediate suggestion was that she shower repeatedly - with her Dad's Lava soap. Megan reassured me that by picking a spray made of beets and walnuts rather than carrots and pumpkin she would have a more bronze look and would NOT end up looking orange.
I guess the trade-off was she could have smelled like pie instead of compost.
All in all, the spray tan worked well. It did not rub off on her dress. She did not end up looking orange, and the smell went away the next day.
A candid shot of the boys and me at the reception.
The boys were a HUGE help getting ready for the wedding and reception. Having gone to school at TCM and having helped with numerous school programs, plays, events . . . they know the school/church like the back of their hand.
The boys did everything from setting up the scaffolding, hanging the ornaments from the gym ceiling, setting up the tables and chairs (after first finding all of the chairs), hanging lights, finding all of the plug-ins . . .
Their help was essential.
While Joel did the bigger more visible things, Levi was meticulously working behind the scenes with all of the unseen things - like taping all of the extension cords to the floor and being sure all of Megan's things got put in Adam's car. The jobs they chose to do were so typical of their personalities.
Both worked tirelessly and without complaint - all out of love for their sister.
I love my handsome boys, the love they have for Megan, and their servant's heart.
My emotions are raw right now . . . tears are never far away.
It is actually silly to be sad, however, because this is what we set out to accomplish.
Megan has grown from a small 6 lb. 12 oz. infant girl who was dependent on us for everything into a beautiful, mature, fine Christian lady who is ready and capable to care for herself and her husband.
But as a mom, it is hard to let go. It is hard to be done with a job you have worked so hard at doing.
I heard that Da Vinci loved the Mona Lisa so much that he tarried in finishing painting it for 15 years. And that after it was finally finished, he carried it with him wherever he went and never sold it.
The selfish side of me would like to do that with Megan - to keep her at home with me longer.
But truth is - I love her too much to do that.
I love - love. I love being a wife and a mother - and I am looking forward Megan experiencing this and to experiencing the newness of it again through her.
There are so many firsts ahead of her . . . so many exciting days ahead.
In reality I know that even though she is now grown, I will always be her mother - and she will always need me.
I still need my mother - so I know this is true.
I am looking forward to the phone calls asking me: